Buying a home? A CLUE report can reveal a lot

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by Warren Trent

Video report by Gary Harper

Posted on September 17, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 17 at 10:20 PM

SURPRISE, Ariz -- When buying a house, there's a way for consumers to find out the history of that house. As 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper found out, you just have to know what to ask for.

Thanks to a CLUE report, Tony Hernandez was able to find out about some little-known problems in his west valley home well before he purchased it.

"It was great," he says. "The builder came out and they fixed it no charge. No cost to me. So it was a good idea."

A CLUE report is short for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. It's kind of like a car fax for a home because it gives the buyer any background and history on the property.

Andrea Zuhri-Adams is a licensed real estate broker. "It doesn't put it on a black list," she says. "It just basically gives the buyer needed information to make an intelligent decision."

Andrea says although buyers can't access a CLUE report for someone else's house, the owner of the house can, and often does, when a buyer asks for it. Andrea adds, "CLUE reports are for an owner who has occupied the house for 5 years."

Andrea has seen real estate deals fall through because of what a CLUE report may reveal. "You can definitely catch some big problems before they become disasters in a home," she says. Things like floods, fire and burglaries show up on a report.

"In this market of individuals buying houses and flipping them, sometimes you have houses that were in a fire and it's not disclosed but you can find that out sometimes," she says.

When Tony bought his home a few years ago, ordering a CLUE report really him helped out. "It saved me thousands, literally," he said.

Tony has enjoyed his home, but after four years, he's packing and getting ready to move into another house. And as the owner, he's already ordered a CLUE report just in case potential buyers request one.

"It’s more or less a microscope for a buyer to be able to see things that are not necessarily obvious to the inexperienced eye," says Andrea.

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